KAMELOT’s Shadows Over Europe Tour has been underway for a while now, and stopped in Helsinki on September 25th, 2018. A dozen years ago or so, I caught KAMELOT’s gig when they stopped by with their former singer, Roy Khan. The experience itself was very memorable, lasting me for the better part of two decades, since Khan was extremely theatrical and charismatic on stage. Somewhere after “Ghost Opera” (2010) I caught another show when Tommy Karevik was fronting the band. That gig was great as well. Differing opinions surely do exist, but I always felt that Karevik is a better technical singer and Khan had better visual performances. Regardless of all that, KAMELOThas always been (well, after “Siege Perilous”) great under that spotlight and really given bang for their fans’ bucks. Check out the gallery here.
Unfortunately, I missed LEAVES’ EYES due to some confusion surrounding the play times. After the confusion had cleared up, FLAT EARTH took the (curiously tidy) stage and the audience was pretty apathetic towards them, sadly. In a way it’s not surprising, since they were pretty dissimilar to the meat of the evening, thus leaving them pretty cold. Not that they were bad in any sense; their mixing was done well and the music itself was solid, if a little hard to pin down, though they did have a spot of technical trouble with a microphone at a couple of points. Every once in a while there was an AMORPHIS vibe (makes sense, because ex-AMORPHIS bassist Nicklas Etelävuori is in the band) that switched to a hard rock-y crunch. The singer – Anttoni “Anthony” Pikkarinen – was geared up with a tambourine, but to my dismay didn’t rock out with them as well as Jess [JESS & THE ANCIENT ONES] did back in Svartfest II. Their fifth song, “The Glow,” had a damned good punch to it and seemed to warm up the audience better than the previous few. Getting stronger and better during their set – around the seventh song “Freedoom,” Pikkarinen’s vocal range was tested after it had been a bit underutilized previously, or at least seemed to have been. The man was sporting some pretty smooth moves on stage as well, moving about with grace and fluidity, even if his compatriots didn’t move around as much.
So, with the entrées (or entrée at least for me) properly served, it was time for the main course. A main course that was slightly set back with some technical difficulties with the intro, but not so much as to ruin our appetites completely. Not noticing it during FLAT EARTH, there was a pretty big catwalk in the middle of photo pit to afford some more space for Karevik to move around (utilized also by Lauren Hart later on), and some small platforms were erected to more efficiently boast. Starting right off with a song from “Shadow Theory,” the tour name was certainly appropriate. I’m not sure if being over-equipped with lights helps that, but since light casts shadow, we’ll let that one slide. The second song was “Rule the World” from “Ghost Opera” (2010) and it was annoying-my-fellow-concert-goers good, so there were some glances thrown in my general direction meaning “please shut the hell up.” Hint thus taken, the show grew better in my immediate radius.
The bassist, Sean Tibbets, was on fire right off the bat, having enough energy to bounce all around stage from the word “go.” Drummer Johan Nunez had an absolutely insane-looking drum kit with a couple of cymbals hanging overhead, but played them with rehearsed ease and absolute timing. Karevik himself was still an absolute treat to hear, the man having perfected his voice over the years and having a better grasp of the audience and bardsmanship than before. During “When the Lights Are Down,” he asked all of us to raise our voices for the song and most of us were happy to oblige him, the venue nicely carrying the hundreds-strong crowd’s voices.
“March of Mephisto” – as always – was great, Karevik making use of the catwalk and poking a fan’s cellphone while they were filming him. The growling vocals of “March of Mephisto” were being handled by aforementioned Lauren Hart – who also handled background vocals in other songs – and did a great job at her craft. Also joining the stage a few times was Noora Louhimo of BATTLE BEAST fame, but calling her a background vocalist would be – to say the least – disrespectful. Oliver Palotai and Johan Nunez had themselves a little jazz odyssey as a small interlude after a dozen songs were played, which was pleasant and funny to listen to, and not at all SPINAL TAP. For the encore, they played “Liar Liar (Wasteland Monarchy)” which gathered all of the vocalists on stage and released the last of their energy on stage. Karevik and Hart alternating between the catwalk to give their all and their last.
KAMELOT was, unsurprisingly, really good once again. They have practiced and refined their art for almost three decades at this point, so anything else would be disappointing. From what I remember, Karevik wasn’t this warm with his fans the last time he visited, so his growth in this direction was nice to see, easily managing and grasping the crowd.
Since apparently Nosturi are finally closing their doors sometime next year, this was the last time I will see KAMELOT there; it feels quite fitting that their penultimate song was “Forever.” I’ll see you guys in some years again, wherever that might be.
Leaves’ Eyes setlist
1. Sign of the Dragonhead
2. Across the Sea
3. Swords in Rock
4. Edge of Steel
5. Riders on the Wind
6. Hell to the Heavens
8. Blazing Waters
Flat Earth setlist
4. None for One
5. The Glow
6. Noble Swine
Intro – Knight’s March
1. Phantom Divine (Shadow Empire)
2. Rule the World
4. The Great Pandemonium
5. When the Lights are Down
6. End of Innocence
7. Veil of Elysium
8. Here’s to the fall (Palotai & Karevik alone)
10. March of Mephisto
Keyboard & drum solos
Track: Manus Dei
13. Sacrimony (Angel of Afterlife)
14. Burns to Embrace
16. Liar Liar (Wasteland Monarchy) (Encore)
Written by Kalle Uotila
Photos by Miia Collander
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